PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA
It's not very gourmet, but I have an enduring and slightly shameful love for Hawaiian pizza. It was my pizza of choice until people around me responded with 'ewww, really??' when I ordered one. Sadly, I succumbed to peer pressure and haven't had a Hawaiian in a long time. I suspect that even if I were to order one from Pizza Hut or whatever now, I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I did in my memories - greasy, overly salted and bready pizzas aren't really my thing.
There was only one way to get my fix then - make my own. Earlier in the week, I had a successful trial run of Dan Lepard's pizza dough. It isn't the most hands-off, but it comes together in slightly less than 2 hours, which I think is completely acceptable for good pizza. And anyway, if it were too easy, there would be nothing to stop me from eating pizza all the time. This time, I added some of the water the mozzarella dough sits in into the dough. To be honest, I didn't detect that much of a difference from the plainer dough, maybe because of all the cheese I put on top anyway.
I was going to do a Hawaiian with grilled pineapple and Parma ham. Yum, right? But I was seduced in the supermarket by beautiful amber persimmons, aka 'Sharon fruit' (What even is that name?? I never saw it till I came to the UK). So the pizza took a turn for the creative, I guess.
I saw Bresaola and I wanted it. If you haven't tried it, you must! It's like parma ham, but kind of less salty and more... meaty. Of course it's meaty, it's air-dried beef. It's kind of like a super-condensed steak. And that colour! I mean, how can you say no?
I know, I know, the ingredients don't point remotely to Hawaii. But it's not like Hawaiian pizzas are authentically Hawaiian anyway. So this pizza, for now, has the rather staid name of Persimmon and Bresaola Pizza. And I do have plans to cook something Hawaiian soon - Spam Musubi (It's basically Spam sushi). That's another 'ewww, really??' food but I'm not even ashamed of that one. Stay tuned!
Persimmon and Bresaola Pizza
Makes 2 large pizzas or 3 medium ones - This recipe is halved from the book, so just double it for more dough. From Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard.
300g Italian '00' flour, or strong white flour - plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon fast action yeast
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
200ml warm water -
should be about 45 degrees C. I just test by putting the back of my hand in it: it should feel like warm bath water.
2 tablespoons olive oil - plus extra for kneading
Put the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl. Pour in the warm water and olive oil.
Mix everything together so it's evenly combined. I used a wooden spoon for this, as the dough is really sticky at this point. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes (not in a really cold place).
Oil your work surface lightly. Turn the dough out onto it and knead gently for 10 seconds only. Put the dough back into the bowl and leave, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Repeat the kneading for 10 seconds and leaving for 10 minutes process another two times.
Leave the dough to rise until it's one and a half times its original size - this takes about an hour, depending on the temperature of the room. If you want to leave the dough for more than two hours, place in a covered container in the fridge.
20 minutes before baking, cut the dough into the required number of pieces. Shape them into balls and dust with flour. Let them rest for 20 minutes. This lets the gluten relax, so the pizzas don't shrink when you're shaping them.
Preheat your oven to 240 degrees C, or at its hottest setting. If you're lucky enough to have a pizza stone, let it heat up in the oven. If, like me, you're using a baking tray, just dust it with flour and shape the pizza right onto it.
Roll or stretch out your ball of dough, trying to keep it even.
Top with your desired toppings and bake for about 12-18 minutes, until the top is bubbling and the edges are golden.
1 persimmon, peeled and sliced thinly
2 big spoonfuls of tomato passata or tomato sauce
1 big ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into small pieces
150g Bresaola, shredded thinly
A handful of rocket
Spread the tomato passata onto the shaped pizza. Top with the sliced persimmon and then the cheese.
Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Scatter rocket leaves on top, and then lay the Bresaola across the pizza. Serve!